August 19, 2020

Every year as part of the DNA of #CRE, we ask brokers about the tools and practices they employ to be successful in their work. One of the most widely used tools is the commercial listing site.

Here are the most-used listing sites according to the 730 respondents of the 2020 DNA of #CRE Broker Survey

  1. LoopNet
  2. CREXi
  3. Catylist
  4. Brevitas
  5. theBrokerList

We drilled down on our data to see what these listing sites have in common, who’s using them, and why.

Who uses the top listing sites?

The average broker using one of the top listing sites works in the city at an independent brokerage with five or fewer brokers. Their average listing price is between $500K–1M and the property type they closed the most deals around in 2019 was either office or retail.

Brevitas, Catylist, and LoopNet users reported more office deals closed in 2019, while theBrokerList and CREXi users reported more retail.

This adheres closely to our survey-wide results from the 2020 DNA of #CRE—with a few notable deviations.

What best describes your brokerage’s location?

Brevitas’ usage in rural brokerages was over three times the survey average with fewer users in suburban offices.

How many brokers are in your local office?

theBrokerList had the highest concentration of users with more than 100 brokers in their local office. The differences shown here suggest theBrokerList sees its strongest usage in the smallest and the largest offices.

Which property type did you sell or lease the most of in 2019?

Catylist users reported selling more land properties at a higher percentage than our survey average and any other listing site.

What is the price of your average listing?

CREXi had a higher percentage of users report their average listing price as greater than $2M. The other top listing sites averaged less than 13% of their users with listing prices in that range.

LoopNet’s demographic results did not deviate strongly from the larger data of our survey—likely because nearly half of our respondents reported using LoopNet.

Why brokers use the top-rated listing sites

As many already know, our data showed LoopNet had the largest nationwide market penetration. Nearly 10% of LoopNet users said their top reason for using a listing site was because it was required by their clients.

Here is what some of the 2020 DNA of #CRE broker respondents had to say about why they used LoopNet the most

  • “My clients know LoopNet and expect to see their listings there.”
  • “The general public only knows LoopNet, thus why our firm exposes the property on that platform.”
  • “LoopNet is expected by clients, but CREXi is best for me as a broker.”
  • “In our market, LoopNet is where people are looking for properties. Outside of our market, they are looking at CREXi.”
  • “Most retail tenant exposure—but I’m transitioning into CREXi and other free services because LoopNet quadrupled the cost. Now listings must be premier for the public to see.”

Trends emerge quickly in our survey write-in responses that while use of LoopNet is overwhelming, it’s begrudging. A lot of brokers champion other services in the hope that their success can help break CoStar and LoopNet’s hold on the industry.

“We would love to see a viable non-CoStar/LoopNet platform at a more affordable cost. As such, we support all the other platforms. The top one we support is Catylist.”

CREXi as a strong contender

Almost half of the 2020 DNA of #CRE respondents use CREXi—and they showed the most avid support for their platform in their written responses.

Here are some of their reasons for using CREXi in their own words

  • “CREXi is incredible with its lead detail capture”
  • “CREXi is the best listing platform for the various types of properties that our firm brings to the market.”
  • “I use them because they track data really well!”

CREXi had the highest percentage of “lead generation” responses when we asked about brokers’ top reason for using listing sites.

The growing user base and quality of their data may help push CREXi into serious competition with LoopNet in the coming years. 

Catylist hotspots

While our geographic data is not comprehensive enough to confidently speak to listing site usage by state, broker write-ins confirmed a few trends that emerged around Catylist.

“There are approximately 1500 LACDB (Catylist) members in LA making it the most widely used platform for commercial practitioners in the state, plus it’s very affordable.”

We saw responses from Louisiana and Minnesota brokers, where Catylist usage almost doubled LoopNet according to our data, which showed a strong community built around local CIEs (commercial information exchanges) powered by Catylist.

LACDB in Louisiana and MNCAR in Minnesota were mentioned throughout the written responses of the 2020 DNA of #CRE in conjunction with Catylist. This shows that while Catylist has strong footing in local markets, these relationships are still helping them build brand awareness on a national level.

User experience matters

The smaller platforms on the top-rated list, Brevitas and theBrokerList, received the most praise for ease-of-use and their communities.

Here is what users had to say about why they used Brevitas and theBrokerList the most

  • “Popularity with end-users”
  • “Friendly staff gets good circulation does not have a bad reputation”
  • “We like the people who run them”

Both Brevitas and theBrokerList have integrations with Buildout. Buildout users can easily create posts in these marketplaces by syndicating their listing data. This is another way Buildout helps maximize exposure for listings.

Where our data comes from

Since 2015, Buildout and theBrokerList have partnered for the annual DNA of #CRE survey. Our goal is to deliver comprehensive, actionable data to the commercial real estate industry.

730 brokers from all across the country participated in our latest survey. The respondents represented a range of demographics, roles, brokerage sizes, geographic regions, and property focuses, all highlighted in the full 2020 DNA of #CRE Broker Results.

For more updates like this and future coverage of tools in the CRE industry and other brokerage insights, subscribe to our blog.